HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Former EliteXC champions Jake Shields
and Robbie Lawler
will face off in a non-title middleweight contest for Strikeforce
in May at a yet-to-be-announced Washington state venue. Shields
will take the leap to middleweight to face the Iowa striker, said
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker at a press conference on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt had been previously
announced to square off against power puncher Joe Riggs at
Strikeforce’s April 11 event in San Jose, Calif. That bout is now
on hold, said Strikeforce representatives.
Shields was the EliteXC 170-pound champion prior to parent company
Pro Elite’s financial collapse. Shields, along with Lawler, were
among 42 fighters whose contracts were purchased by Strikeforce in
a select assets acquisition deal finalized in February.
The top-10 ranked Shields went 4-0 for the EliteXC promotion. His
last victory, a second-round armbar submission against brawling
Daley, was televised on CBS last October. Shields (24-2-1)
boasts wins over UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami,
as well as welterweight standouts Mike Pyle,
Thompson, and former WEC champion Carlos
A hot prospect from the start, the hard-nosed Lawler landed in the
UFC by his fifth career fight. He fought for the promotion seven
times as a welterweight between 2002-2004, and collected victories
Lytle and Aaron Riley
before losing to Nick Diaz by
knockout and the late Evan Tanner from
a triangle choke.
The Iowa native flourished outside the Octagon’s gates thereafter,
racking up two key victories in Hawaii’s Icon Sport before gaining
national exposure on two of EliteXC’s three “Saturday Night Fight”
installments on CBS, which netted over 8 million viewers for
Lawler’s fights alone.
A product of the famed Miletich Martial Arts camp, Lawler (16-4)
currently trains with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes at
his H.I.T. Squad gym in Granite City, Ill.
Strikeforce’s May event will air live on Showtime.